FARMERS TO SELF-DECLARE LAND FOR FUTURE DEBT WAIVER; PENSIONERS, GOVT EMPLOYEES CAN’T AVAIL SCHEME

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The Hush Post: The Punjab government has decided to introduce self-declaration of land holdings by the beneficiaries of the farm debt waiver scheme. This has been done so that only the needy farmers get the benefit of the scheme. The government employees and retired pensioners, who pay income tax will be excluded from the list. A notification will be issued soon, it was decided at a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh.

Self-declarations, followed by random checks, would ensure fool-proof mechanism to plug any loopholes in the farm debt waiver scheme, said Captain Amarinder. Waiver of loans for farmers who committed suicide would be taken up after the committee set up by the Vidhan Sabha in this regard submits its report. There were many big farmers who had transferred a small part of their big land holding to their son/sons to take benefit of the cooperative loans, resulting in waiver of their loans despite their huge land holdings.

Some big farmers with land in Rajasthan but holdings less than 2.5 acres in Bathinda had been included in the debt waiver, leading to resentment, they said, suggesting that the government take affidavits about the land holdings before finalising beneficiary lists. In fact, they said, some NRIs had also ended up getting the benefit of loan waiver, which should have been limited to the deserving small and marginal farmers.

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